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Analyzing Documents
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Personal Accounts Title

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Read an Excerpt

Analyzing Documents presents case studies that show how scholars interpret different kinds of historical evidence in world history. Here are excerpts from two personal accounts written by women living in northern Germany in the 17th century. The first is a diary written by a Jewish merchant, Glikl of Hameln. The second is a memoir written by a Protestant midwife, Catharina Schrader. These writings offer an important window into the daily lives and life cycles of non-elite women living in early modern Europe.


Look at the images and the original handwritten text. Then click on the image to read a translated excerpt from each account. What do you notice about each? How are they similar? How are they different? What language do they use that sounds familiar? Are there any words you do not know? What can you tell about these women’s lives? How did they understand their worlds? Why did they write these accounts? These are all questions historians ask when they read personal accounts from the past.


Now listen to Professor Merry Wiesner-Hanks talk about the accounts and what we can learn from them.Go to Next Page


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A project of the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University,
with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gladys Delmas Foundation
2003-2005 center for history & new media